South Mountain Distilling Company, one of our favorite spirit-makers, calls Connelly Springs “home.” JD’s Smokehouse makes some of the tastiest barbecue we’ve enjoyed in North Carolina, even if it doesn’t style itself as Eastern or Western. Health & Fitness; 118,094 Population. The Tarheel State is a land of many features: to the east, the stunning beaches of the Outer Banks; to the west, spectacular mountain ranges including the Great Smokies and the Blue Ridge Mountains. It’s near quite a few waterfalls, including Rufus Morgan Falls and Dry Falls between that Macon County town and Maggie Valley in Haywood County. Also, don’t forget to grab some grub at Beaufort Grocery CO and Moonrakers. Lexington’s Barbecue Center was my first experience with red slaw and after the first spoonful, I was hooked. Our first walk through small-town North Carolina takes us to Banner Elk. So please don't beat us up. 1. They include the beautiful waterfalls you’ll find at Crabtree Falls, as well as Setrock Falls and Roaring Fork Falls. Arapahoe, NC. We want to point out again that there's still safes places in Whiteville and that this isn't a comment on the people that live there. Whether you stay at Chetola Resort, the historic Green Park Inn, or elsewhere, we hope you enjoy your time in Blowing Rock! We first think of Hope Mills as the home of Dirtbag Ales but the Cumberland County town offers more beyond those delicious brews and the on-site restaurant Napkins. They are playgrounds for anybody with an eye for architecture and a heart ready for history. Corolla is also home to the Currituck Beach Lighthouse and the Whalehead Historic House Museum. We have a variety of restaurants, shopping, beaches, hotels, and parks. Of course, you’ll want to head over to Brevard College for a “chance” at seeing one of those famed white squirrels. Slow down a bit at Pinehurst Resort before heading out for a day on the Cradle Par 3 Course. You can’t grow up without hearing tales of the pioneer and frontiersman Daniel Boone who trail-blazed his way … There’s a fun downtown to walk through, and also Reservoir Park if you feel like getting in some nature time. We also included a visit to Kannapolis in our guide to a weekend in Concord and Cabarrus County. City Life; Rankings; Dangers; Events; Visit; Education; The Journal; March 14 | Rankings. That’s hands-down the most popular time to be here. Swansboro is a Jacksonville suburb that’s known for Hammocks Beach State Park and its gorgeous waterfront. Town Square in Burnsville is a great place to start in one of our favorite small towns in North Carolina. West Jefferson is a lovely Ashe County town, sitting in the shadows of Mount Jefferson and Paddy Mountain. Oak Island is the perfect spot to have a beach getaway and if you feel the need for more seclusion, head over to Caswell Beach next door. If you're analyzing teeny places in the Tar Heel State with the worst economic situations, where there's high crime and there's not a lot to do, this is an accurate list. Albemarle, NC. Silver Gull Motel, Wrightsville Beach/Oyster. The town also has plenty of family-friendly attractions around the lake. That way you can stop in towns like Star, Whynot, Robbins, and more along the way. Don't shoot the messenger, this is all using data. However, there’s also a really cool downtown filled with shops and great places to eat. Dine: Blackbeard's Slices & Ices, Old Town Country Kitchen. Sure, this town is known for its signature style of ‘cue and holds an annual festival to commemorate that. Saluda. Similar lists have been published by other websites, including this one that also includes Boone, Brevard, and Morganton.. One contributing … After hitting up Pinehurst and Aberdeen in the “Home of Golf,” don’t forget about Southern Pines. Of course, you should get outside at the Gateway Trail, part of the Carolina Thread Trail. These towns are challenged by aging and declining populations, low incomes, and sewer rates that are already some of the highest in the state. And if you’re into big events, check out October’s Apple Harvest Festival and Folkmoot, with the latter celebrating both Cherokee and Appalachian cultures. Leland is one of many Brunswick County spots that you might recognize from the many movies filmed here. Silver Run Falls and Rainbow Falls are just a couple of reasons to visit Cashiers, with the epic Whitewater Falls just a short drive away, too. Percentage of Whites in North Carolina by Zip Code. You might think that all of these small towns in North Carolina’s west are near Asheville, but more than a few of them are at least a couple of hours away. You can explore by grabbing a bike and riding around the village. The Cumberland County town also hosts the annual Sandhills Sankofa Festival in April and September’s Renaissance Faire. 15 Best Small Towns to Visit in North Carolina 1. You’ll see a lot of cool small towns in North Carolina as you pass through on US 1, and Aberdeen might be the first to stand out. Flickr/Jerry Dincher Don’t forget about the town’s breweries, either! You’ll run into Elkin either on I-77 or after exploring Stone Mountain State Park nearby. Pop over to Benson for a visit to Broadslab Distilling and if you like barbecue, make a special trip to McGee’s Crossroads and dig into the wonder that is Redneck BBQ Lab. We won’t avoid the movie references here because in Lake Lure, you can have the time of your life. And the water views aren't bad either—you can smell the salty sea air from just about any location. Right at the southeast edge of the state is Calabash, which you may know for its signature style of preparing seafood. You can paddle, bike, boat, and just about anything else an outdoor enthusiast can do here. There are amazing restaurants in Boone that you will surely love when spending a weekend there. List of Towns on the Outer Banks of North Carolina Since 1587, people have been drawn to the undisturbed beauty found on North Carolina’s Outer Banks. These are just a few of the many great things to do in Beaufort! Carolina Beach—town, New Hanover County; Carolina Shores—town, Brunswick County; … For beer lovers, White Street Brewing is a must and if you want to check out some nature, E. Carroll Joyner Park and nearby Falls Lake State Recreation Area should get a visit from you. Got any you’d like to add to the mix? Those are two fun reasons to spend time in this Haywood County town, but even more awaits. Of course, you’ll want to visit the Ocracoke Lighthouse, wild horses, and hike the trails. North Carolina is chock-full of great beach towns, but one of the most popular is Wrightsville Beach. It’s got a cool fishing pier that you can walk on and watch folks as they reel in something big. Visit Seagrove and you’ll be smack dab in the middle of the handmade pottery capital of the United States. 1. Charlotte. Eureka Springs. Asheville may be the best-known destination in the mountains of North Carolina, but Hendersonville is a wonderful small-town alternative. They only re-incorporated in 1989 but the buildings and people have been here for much longer. Altamahaw, NC. Mother Earth Brewing also pumps out some of Eastern NC’s finest beers from Kinston and if you’re into Civil War history, check out the CSS Neuse II that’s on display. The latter is known for fresh seafood and Manteo is the Dare County. Regardless of the exact location, the … Home to a laid-back downtown filled with arts and crafts galleries, bookstores, restaurants, and more, Bryson City, North Carolina boasts undeniable small-town charm. Asheville is one of the more popular cities in North Carolina, and we aren’t going to lie, it’s a good pick that should always make the list. Families value small art towns because they place a high priority on neighborliness and security. Head here in the summer to enjoy local oysters, numerous wineries and a laid-back vibe. We found out by exploring 13 in Western North Carolina that share some characteristics—a population under 5,000, a pedestrian-friendly downtown, ample food and nightlife options—but possess unique attributes as well. When looking up “Outdoor Fun” in the dictionary, a picture of Oriental should come along with the definition. Many folks who attended Appalachian State University (or App) will quickly share fond memories of their time living in Boone. And if you’re into beautiful historic buildings, check out the Jackson County Public Library. This place is special in our hearts for a variety of reasons. Kill Devil Hills has been our go-to place to stay in The Outer Banks. One of them is Carrigan Farms, a family-owned farm that hosts U-pick fruits and vegetables. We included The Big Rock among 50-plus more Summer Things to Do in North Carolina! Since then, the state has seen a boom in high-quality great craft beer making, creating bucket list-worthy destinations out of breweries.. We even celebrate NC Beer Month … Alamance, NC. You can start your Blue Ridge Parkway adventure in Bryson City or hop on the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad, or do both. Check here for more! Add to that a good selection of restaurants, many with outdoor patios in summer; hotels; and attractions; and it's not surprising you frequently hear people describing Hendersonville as the best small town in North Carolina. The epic Clingmans Dome Observation Tower is about 25 miles from Cherokee, too, and totally worth a visit. Aberdeen Purchase Knob and Black Balsam Knob aren’t too far away, either, and still in the county! Newberry, South Carolina. This quaint country town is a mecca for antiques, history and quirky shops. There are Old Deep South plantations, former getaways for the well-to-do of yesteryear. After analyzing more than 278 of North Carolina's smallest cities, we came up with this list as the 10 worst small towns in North Carolina where you'd never want to live: We also included the Roadside and Coastal Cravings in our guide to Outer Banks restaurants, if you’re coming hungry. You’ll be impressed by their Memorial Day and 4th of July festivities, but also the Gallberry Corn Maze (September to November) and various Christmas celebrations in December. Being a racing hub, many of the top NASCAR team shops are located in Mooresville, too. Then there’s the Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Rescue and Rehabilitation Center, a truly fun and educational place which is open on Thursday and Saturday afternoons. You’ll enjoy yourself any time of year in Lincolnton and its surroundings in Lincoln County. Follow hiking and biking trails past waterfalls and babbling mountain streams and stop along the way to fish for trout or simply … When asked about cities in western North Carolina, Asheville is usually the first thing that comes to mind. Dogwood Crafters shares the work of local artisans and then there’s the Dillsboro Chocolate Factory, who’d love to share their fine creations with you. Beaufort. JR Motorsports, Team Penske, and Kyle Busch Motorsports are based here. When on Topsail Island and exploring the beaches there, you’ll want some time to explore Surf City. Beyond that spring extravaganza, stop by the town and patronize some of the local businesses, including R&R Brewing, and tell them we said “Hi!”. 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